Pedestrian Safety Issues in St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg is a city in which there are a lot of pedestrians. We are blessed with an urban environment in which walking is practical and convenient. Pinellas County is also home to miles of pristine beaches that are lined by hundreds of resorts and hotels. This tourist haven is crowded with pedestrians, especially during peak tourism season.
Just this weekend, a pedestrian was struck and killed in St. Petersburg. Unfortunately, it is not an unusual occurrence. Annually, there are about 350 pedestrians that are hit by cars in Pinellas County. About 1/3 of all pedestrians hit suffer serious or fatal injuries. This really is not too surprising since the average car weighs about 4,000 pounds and the average man weighs about 200 pounds. The laws of physics tell us that the average man does not stand a chance when struck by the average car. These statistics show that there is clearly room for improvement in pedestrian safety.
Pinellas County Danger Zones
In Pinellas County there are certain areas which are more dangerous, statistically speaking, for pedestrians. Those areas have a higher than average concentration of traffic accidents involving pedestrians and cars. They include:
1. 4th Street in St. Petersburg from 7th Avenue South to 46th Avenue North;
2. Gulf Boulevard (especially in the high tourist concentration areas near Clearwater Beach and St. Pete Beach);
3. Park Boulevard between Seminole Boulevard and US 19;
4. Fort Harrison Avenue between Belleair Road and Drew Street;
5. West Bay Drive between Indian Rocks Road and 58th Street;
6. Seminole Boulevard between Bay Pines and Ulmerton Road:
7. Tampa Road between Orange Street and Race Track Road;
8. Gulf to Bay Boulevard between Belcher Road and Park Place Boulevard; and
9. 34th Street between Park Boulevard and 5th Avenue North.
Each of these roads have similar characteristics in that they are fairly congested thoroughfares with many pedestrians. The shear number of cars on these roads probably tends to distract the drivers’ attention from their entire surroundings and, in particular pedestrians, to a focus more on the vehicles surrounding them. This lack of awareness is dangerous for pedestrians.
Myth – More Pedestrians are Hit at Night
This is simply not true, though pedestrians and vehicles need to maintain a greater sense of awareness at night. Only 1/3 of all pedestrian accidents in Pinellas County occur at night. This is probably due to simply to a greater number of pedestrians and vehicles being out during the daylight hours, but it highlights the need for awareness during the day when both drivers and pedestrians are a little less vigilant.
The Most Common Ways that Pedestrian Accidents Occur
Pedestrian accidents frequently occur in a crosswalk. These accidents are almost always the fault of the motorist. The motorist is simply not pay close enough attention to its surroundings. That is not to say that a vigilant pedestrian is not always watching for the inattentive or distracted driver. Some of the more frequent ways in which a pedestrian accident may occur include:
1. A driver making a right hand turn strikes a pedestrian who is attempting to cross the street on to which the driver is turning;
2. A driver making a left hand turn strikes a pedestrian who is attempting to cross the street on to which the driver is turning;
3. A driver making a left hand turn strikes a pedestrian who is attempting to cross the street in front of the driver prior to the driver turning left;
4. A driver making a right hand turn on red strikes a pedestrian who is attempting to cross the street from where the driver is turning;
5. A pedestrian crosses the street in mid-street street crosswalk and the driver fails to yield for the pedestrian and flashing yellow lights; and
6. A pedestrian crosses outside any crosswalk and is struck by an oncoming car.
Tips for Pedestrian Safety
Pedestrian safety should start young and it should start at home. Young children should be taught to:
1. Whenever possible, use crosswalks;
2. Whenever possible, use sidewalks;
3. When crossing the street, look left, then right and then left again. Make sure all oncoming traffic has stopped, even when walking with a signal, before entering the intersection;
4. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the shoulder facing oncoming traffic;
5. At night carry a flashlight; and
6. Always be cognizant of your surroundings.
The drivers of cars need to pay closer attention to their surroundings. In addition to looking for oncoming vehicles, drivers need to check the corners, crosswalks and sidewalks for pedestrians before executing a turn. There are many cross walks in St. Petersburg located without an intersection and drivers need to pay special attention in these areas, as the pedestrians in these areas (beach, 4th Street, etc.) are likely to be traveling in groups and paying less attention to oncoming traffic. The drivers must yield to the pedestrian in these special crosswalks and should be extra vigilant when driving in areas which have a high concentration of pedestrians. Additionally, St. Petersburg and Pinellas County need to explore the possibility of redesigned corners at busy intersections which provide more protection for pedestrians. Another change that could be implemented is a light at busy intersections that indicates no right on red when a pedestrian has requested the “Walk” signal.
Contact Jones Law Group
Have you or a loved one been injured in an accident? Contact an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney at Jones Law Group today. When you contact our office we will immediately set an appointment where you will meet your attorney and be provided with his/her personal contact information. If you do not have transportation or you cannot drive, your attorney will travel to meet you and discuss your case with you.
Whether you were a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or the occupant of car, motorcycle or boat and have been injured in an accident, you should immediately call an experienced personal injury attorney in St. Petersburg at Jones Law Group at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours. We will evaluate your case for free and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries.
Jones Law Group
5622 Central Avenue
St. Pete, FL 33707